In 2005, scientists from various science centres in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, the United States and Chile created the Mountain Invasion Research Unit (MIREN) in order to study the distribution of exotic species in high mountain species and to design experiments to confirm the invasive capacity of certain species in high mountain environments.
"These plant communities in Alpine environments have until now not been thought particularly vulnerable to this kind of environmental disturbance", José Ramón Arévalo, one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the Department of Ecology of the University of La Laguna, tells SINC. However, the experiments show clearly "that the beliefs about this supposed protection and mountain species' resistance to invasive species is erroneous", he adds.
The study, published recently in Frontiers in Ecology and The Environment, and which is part of the work done by MIREN, has made it possible to identify the factors that make plants in these areas more vulnerable to invasion by other species.
Among other factors, the scientists stress the ease of movement of propagules (plants which can reproduce asexually in order to produce new plants) as a result of human activity and the increase in environmental disturbance, the low levels of biological resistance of invaded plant communities, the increase in transport between high mountain areas that are far apart from each other, and the risks according to climate change models, "which will make it easier for invasive plants to establish themselves and reproduce", the ecologist explains.
A work agenda to stem invasions
The work carried out over the last five years shows that "invasions may be a factor in more extensive and serious disturbance than had ever been thought", says Arévalo. The scientists also say there is a need to establish a work agenda to evaluate "not only current invasions, but also those that could happen in the future in mountainous environments", warns the researcher.
Protecting against and above all preventing invasions could be done by means of experimental and modelling work. Arévalo says "biological invasion is not a fact, but rather a process of species overlapping within a habitat, which means prevention is much more effective and viable than eradication".
Pauchard, Anibal; Kueffer, Christoph; Dietz, Hansjoerg; Daehler, Curtis C.; Alexander, Jake; Edwards, Peter J.; Arévalo, José Ramón; Cavieres, Lohengrin A.; Guisan, Antoine; Haider, Sylvia; Jakobs, Gabi; McDougall, Keith; Millar, Constance I.; Naylor, Bridgett J.; Parks, Catherine G.; Rew, Lisa J.; Seipel, Tim. "Ain't no mountain high enough: plant invasions reaching new elevations" Frontiers in Ecology and The Environment 7(9): 479-486 noviembre de 2009.
SINC | EurekAlert!
Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences